2017 Review: United Kingdom

So the UK actually selected their entry before Finland’s national final, and I didn’t get to watch it because I was at work. From what I heard off Twitter, the contest You Decide was somewhere between really awesome (by people in the venue sitting in close proximity to some VIP’s) and a vocal trainwreck with microphones breaking (by people watching the contest on BBC2). In the possibility that it was the latter scenario, BBC at least made its national final a bit more of a priority than last year by moving it from BBC4 to BBC2, and they pulled over one of the judges from Strictly Come Dancing for extra viewership.

After a few hours back at work I returned to Twitter at break time and saw the winner Lucie Jones perform her song “Never Give Up on You.”

Well it’s definitely not going on my work playlist because it’s way too calm, though it might work when paired against a dental drill. Otherwise I’d have to prepare myself to be in the right mood before listening to it, possibly while sitting in a café with a hot drink sometime.

Unlike the song that comes to mind when looking at the first three words (i.e. click here to be rickrolled), it’s a ballad a la Mikael Saari at UMK last year: vocals on point stripped back to just the artist, a simple backing track with strings, and lights. There’s no backdrop, no dancers, no backing vocalists. I partially questioned whether all the extra frills were just excluded from the budget, or whether the staging was supposed to be this simple. Maybe it would work in Kyiv if performed in a similar fashion, with a simple backdrop that doesn’t clash and a lot of dry ice on the ground that doesn’t flood Lucie Jones from the performance.

I guess the Beeb and a lot of the fandom decided to promote more that she’s an X-Factor artist who performed in the same year as Jedward (and finished one place lower than the duo who later went on to represent Ireland 2 years in a row), but why not also promote that she’s been a West End performer since 2010, debuting as Cosette in Les Misérables and currently playing in Rent? Adding that would have had a greater effect than “Former X-Factor artist performs song co-composed by 2013 Eurovision winner Emmelie de Forest”, and the focus would be on Lucie rather than her song’s composing team.

On a completely separate note, some people have been comparing “Never Give Up on You” to the Common Linnets’ “Calm After the Storm.” I don’t see any similarities. CATS has a driving beat, while NGUOY doesn’t. CATS is a duet, NGUOY is a solo. CATS is American-country-ish, NGUOY is Broadway/West End.

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